LONDON — British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran surprised fans by releasing two new songs last week, drawn from his forthcoming third album.

Ed Sheeran back with two new singles
Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran accepts the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Thinking Out Loud” at The 58th Grammy Awards on Feb. 15, 2016. — AFP

The 25-year-old, who won the song of the year Grammy award in 2016 for his ballad “Thinking Out Loud,” had been on a year-long hiatus from the music scene and social media.

But he announced on New Year’s Day that he would be unveiling some new sounds.

“Cause I’ve been away for a bit here’s two singles rather than one,” the 25-year-old Grammy and BRIT Award-winner posted on Twitter.

“Shape of You” and “Castle On The Hill” had been played more than a million times on YouTube within hours of their release.

“Castle On The Hill” is described as a “love song for Suffolk” in eastern England, where Sheeran grew up, while “Shape Of You” was originally intended for Rihanna.

“Shape of You” was initially being written for Barbadian singer Rihanna but Sheeran told BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast Show that he changed his mind as the lyrics progressed.

Sheeran has written songs for One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

The guitar-playing star confirmed he recorded some of the new album on a cruise ship, but joked he went hungry because he did not have a “dinner suit.”

“My biggest market in the world is the Philippines and every staff member on the boat was Filipino so I just had a wave of people come to my room every five minutes asking for selfies,” he added.

He spoke about the new scar on his face — reportedly caused by Princess Beatrice, a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, pretending to knight singer James Blunt with a ceremonial sword as Sheeran was standing nearby.

“I don’t know if I can talk about that,” he told BBC radio.

“I have been telling people that it was James Blunt trying to get the pop career back. He’s been telling me to say that.”

Sheeran became an international superstar through “Thinking Out Loud,” a ballad that turned into a wedding favorite.

The song was the first to reach 500 million streams on Spotify and Sheeran’s album X is one of the top-selling British albums so far this century. — AFP/Reuters